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Robert De Niro building world’s first VERTICAL film studio

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By Dean Murray via SWNS

Acting legend Robert De Niro has a new role – as head of the first VERTICAL film studio in the world.

The Raging Bull star’s $600m Queens-based Wildflower Studios has been given the green light by New York authorities to begin construction.

Located under two miles from Manhattan in the Ditmars-Steinway neighborhood of Astoria, it will become the first ground-up, purpose-built production soundstage in New York City.

Situated over seven stories, the film, television, production, and creative studio complex will total 775,042 gross square feet and include 11 sound stages, 310 off-street parking spaces, and a waterfront esplanade open to the public.

The limited area of the site combined with generous height limitations inspired the idea to create a vertical film studio with two levels of sound stages, a first of its kind.

The facility, designed by the BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, has received a building permit from the Department of Buildings (DOB), signifying that the project’s construction will now move forward.

Acting legend Robert De Niro has a new role, head of the first VERTICAL film studio in the world. (Synoesis/BIG via SWNS)

The project also secured an equity investment from Meadow Partners, and a $600 million construction loan from Silverstein Capital Partners.

The construction of Wildflower Studios is expected to complete in late 2023.

“We are determined to create a world-class content creation campus in Queens,” said Adam Gordon, Managing Partner, Wildflower Studios.

“It speaks to telling stories in all forms; streaming, AR, VR, and gaming, with a building design that looks toward the future.”

The $600m Wildflower Studios has been given the green light by New York authorities to begin construction. (Synoesis/BIG via SWNS)

"The approval comes at a time when the film and television industry in New York is growing at a rapid pace – helping to satisfy the overwhelming demand for a large production studio in New York City proper.," said Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

“We are excited to continue our work with Wildflower to bring film production back to New York City in a way that has never been done before.

“The vertical media production village will be home to storytellers working across all mediums - a three-dimensional hub of collaboration, creativity, and innovation.

"While New York City is no stranger to being the star of many visual stories – the city effectively a character in itself – this first ground-up vertical production stage complex marks a new chapter in the city’s ability to create the stories of our future.”

Located under two miles from Manhattan in the Ditmars-Steinway neighborhood of Astoria, Queens. (Synoesis/BIG via SWNS)

BIG-Bjarke said the facility is organized around eleven basic studio modules. Each module consists of the large span stage, vertical transportation, and production support spaces such as scene shops and dressing rooms.

The modules are organized into two-story rows contained within a single volume. A central spine between the two rows becomes the bustling heart of activity between the stages.

Through the strategically-planned mix of interconnected spaces - including a range of stages, production-support areas, open and private offices, fitness room, cafes and lounges – BIG says the design aims to facilitate the best creative work possible by providing dynamic spaces for collaboration and connection.

Robert De Niro will become head of the first ground-up, purpose-built production soundstage in New York City. (Synoesis/BIG via SWNS)

On the exterior, the 145-foot-tall building will be clad with precast concrete panels, set at angles that create an animated effect on the building façade as the angle of the sun changes through the day.

Two open-air terraces puncture the façade providing an outdoor connection to the waterfront, natural daylight, and views of the Manhattan skyline. The building’s roof will include a 150,000 square foot solar panel footprint.

Wildflower Studio’s partners include Adam Gordon and Matthew Dicker of Wildflower Ltd.; Robert De Niro, Raphael De Niro, and Bjarke Ingels of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

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